A remedial school is better than mainstream?

Why choosing a remedial school is better than choosing a mainstream school’s learning support centre

It’s no secret that mainstream schooling is to a large extent not meeting children’s learning needs. The scores in maths and science are terrible. South Africa’s schooling is in dire straits. Private schools do see a better pass rate for university acceptance. At least one economics professor has said that private schooling could save South Africa.

It seems a lot of schooling in our country is producing learners in need of remedial education. This is even in learners without particular educational challenges! We have already discussed the need for remedial education in South Africa (and America). More and more schools are offering learning support centres for their remedial learners.

At Japari we applaud any efforts to meet a learner’s needs, remedial or otherwise. We have no doubt that many of these schools have the best intentions at heart. But we need to point out that studies have shown that remedial schools are better for these children.

Mainstream schools usually have two approaches in trying to help their remedial students. These are extra classes or forming a remedial class of special needs kids.

Extra classes

Even if offered at no additional charge, extra classes will mean lost time for the learner. Even the best extra classes from a learning support centre can’t compare to a remedial school’s approach. For example, Japari’s entire school day is designed and directed to meet the needs of these learners. A learning support centre will be trying to address these same needs in a few hours after school or on a Saturday.

Trying to remediate a child in 2 hours or less daily after school won’t work. This is trying to cram much needed academic skills development into too short a time each day. Increasing the time will do little in terms of actual results. It will mean more fatigue for the learner more than anything else. Sport and free time have very important developmental aspects. Kids in lengthy remedial extra classes will be missing out on these.

Special classes

The other option is rounding up all the kids that need remedial attention into one class. This can mean that these children are singled out as the “kids who can’t”. This can make them a target for teasing, or worse. Studies show that kids in a special remedial class at a mainstream school have lower self-concepts than children attending a remedial school. This is even in more enlightened schools where bullying won’t take place. The self-concept is what a child believes about him or herself. Self-image, self-esteem and the idea of your ideal self form self-concept. To undermine any of these components is a serious problem. A learning support centre could inadvertently erode remedial learners’ sense of worth.

Why a remedial school is better for these kids

1. No Stigma

There is no stigma attached to special needs children at a remedial school. All the children are facing learning problems. No one is going to be teased if they are struggling to read or do mathematics.

2. The entire aim of the remedial school remediating these learners

Students also won’t need to 

attend extra lessons or special lessons. Japari gears its entire school structure to meet their specific needs, whatever they might be. This is beyond what even the best mainstream school’s learning support centre can offer.

3. The entire staff is qualified to address the special remedial needs of the learners

At a remedial school, the teachers and support staff have the training to meet the special needs of the kids. These children will get the professional help they need to succeed at their studies. Whether they face sensory processing issues or struggle with dyslexia we will help them. Japari’s staff is passionate to see the best techniques brought to bear to meet the challenges each child is facing. The staff of a mainstream school learning support centre, however capable or passionate, could not be as qualified as an excellent remedial school in both assessing and remediating your child.

4. Specialised attention

A remedial school puts remedial education first and foremost for the learner’s needs. The kids in need of this attention are not in the minority, separated from the rest of the students. They are not only assisted after school in the particular way they need help (as would be seen in a learning support centre). Rather, each day in each class, we attend to their remedial needs. At Japari we know that these children can attain a good education. They can be equipped with the skills to succeed beyond school. With small classes and passionate teachers, these children are in the best environment to be the best they can be.

Final thoughts…

Many mainstream schools only refer learners in need of remedial help when their own learning support centres haven’t produced the desired results. Delaying remediation can have a long-term negative impact on these kids being able to be helped, even by a remedial school such as Japari.

At Japari we know that there are excellent remedial teachers at mainstream schools. We wish them all the best in the good work they do. But we want parents facing these tough decisions to make informed decisions. Everything shows that it is best for kids in need of remedial education to be in a remedial school. Japari offers the facilities and individualised schooling that remedial learners need.


Schools crisis:





Especially disadvantaged communities: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2016/01/26/129547/a-look-at-the-education-crisis/

As seen in USA: https://japari.co.za/remedial-education/

Private schools: better pass rate and could save SA: https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/family/public-vs-private-schooling-these-are-the-facts-7559017


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